Coastal Social-Ecological Millennium Institute (SECOS)

The goal of SECOS is to advance social-ecological systems (SES) research by focusing on real world coastal challenges to inform transitions towards sustainability. The objectives of SECOS are to understand global, regional and local drivers of change; the social-ecological conditions that hinder sustainability; and test and implement actions that unravel these conditions. The work plan to accomplish our objectives is organized through the study of small- and medium-scale social-ecological experimental units or learning platforms (LP). In seven LP, SECOS 12 researchers (including Dr. Cristian Vargas) will act as a task force, which promotes interdisciplinary thinking, and co-learning processes where scientists and stakeholders are constantly engaged in knowledge generation. LP will tackle key issues in artisanal fisheries, aquaculture and coastal development SES (Fig 1). SECOS will contribute to global and Chilean coastal sustainability through:

  • Performing cutting-edge SES research in 3 key marine SES of Chile (Fig 1).
  • Co-creating and implementing sustainable solutions through multi-stakeholder engagement
  • Increasing human capacity in SES sciences through advanced education and hands-on training and,
  • Promoting novel public engagement processes by inter/transdisciplinary art-science approaches.

In the short/ mid-term, we will use LP to identify/monitor key social and ecological drivers, identify leverage points for intervention and test how these inform adaptive capacity. In the mid/long-term, SECOS will trial solutions, identify innovative pathways to sustainability and promote transdisciplinary instances of knowledge co-creation. SECOS brings together 12 associate scientists with diverse backgrounds, outstanding productivity in their fields and a history of collaboration associated with Millennium and other funding sources, in a framework of interdisciplinary enquiry. SECOS will enhance existing collaboration networks with research centers, scientists and NGOs, nationally and globally by bringing together leading researchers/practitioners on coastal SES. Our collaboration networks encompass diverse countries and disciplinary backgrounds that recognize the unique role that SECOS can play in extending SES research frontiers. In addition, partnerships with stakeholders (e.g. fishers, business) will allow for synergies and civil society engagement. In SES, where science, practice, policy and business interact, SECOS connections will move beyond outreach of scientific results towards a co-learning and creation process with state agencies and stakeholders.

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Figure 1. Social-ecological Systems (SES) of the Millennium Institute SECOS.